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Does Your Chimney Need To Be Relined?

The lining of the chimney is an important – yet often ignored – component of the fireplace system. While designed to keep the fireplace burning safely and efficiently, damage over time may require the chimney to be relined.

What is a chimney liner?

The Chimney Safety Institute of America defines a chimney liner as “A clay, ceramic, or metal conduit installed inside of a chimney, intended to contain the combustion products, direct them to the outside atmosphere, and protect the chimney walls from heat and corrosion.”

The type of chimney liner your home has will depend on when the chimney was built, the size of the fireplace, and the fuel source it burns. The chimney liner is found inside the chimney’s flue. Because of this location, it is nearly impossible to detect damage to the chimney liner without a special inspection or chimney scan.

How are chimney liners damaged?

While chimney liners are designed to protect the rest of your home against heat transfer, there are still a number of ways that they can become damaged. The majority of homes with wood burning fireplaces have chimney liners made of clay tiles. While these liners are extremely effective, they can be damaged by age, overuse, lack of maintenance, chimney leaks, or animal entry. The masonry joints of clay tile liners are particularly susceptible to damage.

Because damage to the chimney liner can occur at any point in the flue, the damage is often difficult to spot with the naked eye. A chimney inspection using video technology such as closed-circuit cameras are often used as a way to pinpoint the specific areas of the chimney liner that have been damaged.

Does my chimney need to be relined?

Damage to the chimney liner can be extremely difficult to repair. This is especially true of homes with clay tile liners, where replacing the tiles is nearly impossible without damage to the chimney structure. Because of this, most instances of chimney liner damage require the chimney to be relined.

Advances in the fireplace industry have made chimney relining easier and more affordable than ever before. Cast in place liners can be used to create a smooth or seamless finish inside the flue. It also helps to improve the structural stability of an aging chimney. Likewise, stainless steel liners line the flue with a single, seamless piece of metal which can help improve the efficiency of some fireplaces.

Changes to the fireplace itself may also necessitate having the chimney relined. Installing a new fireplace insert or changing fuel sources can affect the venting needs of the chimney; in these changes, relining the chimney can help the fireplace burn as safely and efficiently as possible.

If your chimney liner has been damaged, you’ve installed a new fireplace insert, or switched fuel sources, chimney relining can help maximize the safety and efficiency of your fireplace system. For more information on having your chimney relined or to schedule a chimney inspection to check the condition of your existing chimney liner, contact Clean Sweeps of Michigan today!

Spring Cleaning Includes Your Chimney, Too!

When the weather warms up in the spring, many of us have long to do lists for our homes! This year, don’t just focus on cleaning out closets or shampooing carpets – make sure to include your chimney on your spring cleaning list!

After a long winter of use, spring is the perfect time to have your chimney serviced. Whether you need a routine sweeping and inspection or more intensive masonry work, make sure your spring cleaning includes your chimney, too!

Spring Cleaning Includes Your Chimney Too - Ann Arbor MI - Clean Sweeps of Michigan

Was my chimney damaged over the winter?

Fall and winter are the heaviest use periods for your fireplace and chimney; because of this, it is also the time of year when they are most likely to be damaged. Below are two of the most common causes of winter chimney damage.

  • Water damage. The bricks and mortar of your chimney are naturally porous, absorbing small amounts of water into the small holes on the surface. While these tiny droplets of water might not do much damage, during the winter they can freeze and expand. As the water thaw, this freeze-thaw process creates progressively larger and larger holes and cracks to appear. Regular chimney inspections or masonry waterproofing can help protect your chimney against water damage.
  • Creosote buildup. One of the most common byproducts of combustion from fires is creosote. Creosote is produced in small amounts in all fuel-burning fires, but is created most in wood-burning fires; burning green wood or allowing fires to smolder at low temperatures can greater more creosote than other fires. Because creosote is highly flammable, it is important to have it removed by regular chimney sweepings.

Why spring is the best time for chimney service

Even though you won’t be using your chimney again for several months, spring is often the best time for chimney service. Annual preventative maintenance such as chimney sweepings and inspections can help keep your fireplace burning safely and efficiently all year long. Below are a few of the reasons why we recommend having your chimney serviced this spring.

  •  No weather delays. Many masonry repairs cannot be done if the weather is too hot or too cold. Because of this, the mild spring temperatures are often perfect for having chimney repairs done.
  • Easy to schedule appointments. Spring is generally considered to be the off season for chimney services. This means it is often easier to schedule appointments at convenient times or have services scheduled as soon as possible.
  • Have your fireplace ready for fall. By having your chimney serviced in the spring, it will be ready to use again when temperatures cool off in the fall. This means there will be no delay in using your fireplace in the fall.

While you’re getting the rest of your house in shape for spring, don’t forget about your fireplace! Contact Clean Sweeps of Michigan to schedule your spring chimney services today.

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